Whether it’s NFTs, bitcoin or virtual influencers, the metaverse has fast been dubbed ‘the future of youth marketing’. In November, we sat down for an exclusive session with Ryan Cenicola, Innovation Producer at Coachella and Margot Rodde, Founder and Metaverse Strategist at Creators Corp. The session took place at Voxburner’s hotly anticipated event, YMS L.A. and centred around unlocking your metaverse strategy to connect with Gen Z.
In this blog, we’ll round up some of the key takeaways from the session, discussing what the metaverse actually is, how Gen Z are reacting to it and how brands can get involved in 2023.
What is the metaverse?
In simple terms, the metaverse is essentially the internet, but in 3D. It’s a form of digital interaction where connected virtual experiences either directly simulate the real world, or imagine worlds beyond it. The metaverse can include virtual reality, as well as augmented reality that combines both aspects of the digital and physical worlds. Many brands have hopped on-board this metaverse bandwagon to envision a new digital economy, where users can create, buy and sell goods.
Why are Gen Z drawn to the metaverse?
The metaverse is new, exciting and ultimately presents a new frontier for Gen Z – who are not just digital natives but the next generation of digital pioneers. The metaverse presents a plethora of opportunities for young consumers: virtual experiences, new social connections and the chance to directly invest in new technologies.
Unlocking Your Metaverse Strategy To Connect With Gen Z | Session Notes
There are a number of metaverse worlds
A common misconception around the metaverse is that there’s only one specific manifestation. There are currently over 160 companies developing the metaverse; most prevalent of them being developed by Epic Games, the company responsible for Fornite, Microsoft and Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook). This was touched on in our YMS session, with speaker Margot Rodde emphasising that “there isn’t just one metaverse, there are a number of metaverse worlds”. Rodde elaborated that at some point we’ll be able to connect these worlds together, but this won’t happen overnight.
The metaverse has changed the game for music artists
When discussing key new developments in the metaverse, Coachella’s Innovation Producer Ryan Cecinola noted that it has been a game-changer for music artists. This is new and exciting territory – at 2022’s Coachella, fans around the world double-took as a Godzilla-sized parrot rose above the stage at Flume’s set. This manifestation was a result of Coachella’s partnership with Unreal Engine (a part of Epic Game’s 3D software tool) to create one of the first augmented reality experiences as part of a festival performance. Ryan noted that the metaverse poses a new opportunity for music performances to become hybrid, with both digital and real-life components shaping the experience.
The metaverse and young consumers
For Gen Z, who are digital natives, Ryan discussed in our panel that “technology is still magical” from a brand marketing standpoint. For brands looking to reach young audiences, the metaverse opens up a big opportunity around user generated content. This has been observed in early metaverse projects like Somnium Space, the Sandbox and Roblox – and as time goes on, Margot noted that this is why you’re beginning to see mainstream brands “activating in Roblox and Fornite”.
Define your metaverse goals
For brands looking to facilitate a metaverse experience, the most important thing is understanding your target market and goals – do you want to reach new audiences? Experiment with your branding? As Margot says “building something in the metaverse isn’t hard once you define what your goals are”. Whilst the metaverse can be seen as a costly investment, brands can get a lot from it. Research conducted by McKinsey in 2022 saw that it would disrupt almost every business sector and could grow into a $5 trillion dollar industry by 2030. Driving this growth is the excitement behind it, with 6 in 10 consumers preferring a metaverse experience over its physical alternative.
The full sessions will soon be available to watch on demand on Voxburner+. Not a subscriber? Join our Youth Marketing Community today.